Punctuality has its roots in the virtue of sticking to one’s word and honoring one another’s time. But arriving on time or early for something has far more potential than mere virtue or responsibility can lend. Punctuality can be catapulted into a life changing act as we become available to spontaneously and sacrificially make time for the needs of others.
When we are running late for something, it doesn’t matter what anyone else needs or is doing. On the highway or in the doorway, “watch out” because I’m running late and don’t have time or room for anyone but me. Although this isn’t the explicit or conscious statement of the one running late, it is wholly implicit in, and inextricable from, running late.
On the contrary, planning to arrive 5 or 10 minutes early allows us to sacrificially meet the needs of others. And how is that sacrificial? We are giving something we can never get back, our time, to make time for others. And if there is no obvious need, we have time to reach out and engage those around us as we see fit: spending an extra minute to talk to the barista at the cafe, or a colleague in the hallway, may meet an unspoken need in them.
There are opportunities for radical punctuality all around.